February 16, 2000

Popping the question

New project asks how pop culture can change the conversation on migration in the UK

This autumn, Counterpoints Arts launches a pioneering project exploring how the power of pop culture can be harnessed to shift the way we talk, think and feel about diversity and migration.

Funded by Unbound Philanthropy, the project builds on exciting work by the Pop Culture Collaborative in the US, which gives grants to projects seeking to improve representation of people of colour, immigrants, refugees and Muslims in TV, film and other creative industries. The PCC’s success stories to date include the USA’s largest online racial justice organisation Color of Change, Issa Rae’s Emmy nominated series Insecure and behind the scenes work connecting actors with activists for the Golden Globes 2017.

Why pop culture?

At a time of greater than ever polarisation and need to connect across difference, this work is about enabling mass audiences to rethink migration and displacement through experiencing just, authentic narratives about the ‘other’. It has the potential to help artists, activists and academics working on vital social change issues to connect with bigger and more mainstream audiences than ever before – think Warsaw Shire on Beyoncé’s Lemonade, or Michelle and Barack Obama’s new partnership with Netflix.

It all starts in Devon

Counterpoints Arts’ UK pop culture project kicks off at the picturesque Dartington Hall Trust in Devon on 17-19 October, where 50 leading figures from the arts, media, entertainment, philanthropy, policy, advertising, fashion and charity sectors will gather for a special retreat to explore pop culture’s potential to bring about social change in the UK, supported by Unbound Philanthropy and the Social Change Initiative.

Attending the event as key speaker will be Bridgit Antoinette Evans, director of the Pop Culture Collaborative and one of the foremost thought leaders in the culture change strategy field, who will share learning and successes from the PCC’s influential grant-making programme in the US.

The 50 delegates will also be joined by a (soon to be named) artist, who will head to the medieval estate on 9 October for a residency exploring the role of public art in pop culture and migration/displacement, coordinated by Counterpoints Arts and Dartington Arts.

Get involved

For updates on Counterpoints Arts’ pop culture and social change project sign up to our newsletter, or to find out more, contact Nike Jonah on

To go deeper on arts and social change, check out the brilliant Wonderland podcast, hosted by Bridgit Antoinette Evans and Tracy Van Slyke.

Photo (c) José Farinha